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American Academy of Audiology Research Shows Hearing Aids Do Improve Quality of Life

Research Published in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology Indicates Psychological, Social and Emotional Benefits

Reston, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--An article published in the current issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology (JAAA) (Volume 18, Number 2) indicates that people with hearing loss who choose to wear hearing aids do experience a better quality of life than those who do not wear hearing aids. A Systematic Review of Health-Related Quality of Life and Hearing Aids: Final Report of the American Academy of Audiology Task Force on the Health-Related Quality of Life Benefits of Amplification in Adults concludes that hearing aids improve adults Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) by reducing psychological, social, and emotional effects of sensorineural hearing loss.

Hearing aids can be a real challenge, especially for many elderly individuals. Their small size presents major problems for persons with arthritic fingers or with some loss of fine motor control, according to JAAA Editor-in-Chief James Jerger, PhD. It is not always easy to change the battery, to manipulate the controls, and to take the aid in and out of the ear. Elderly persons frequently complain that amplified sound is unnatural and often annoyingly loud, and they complain uniformly that talkers are difficult to understand in the presence of background competition. They will often insist that, much of the time, they get along better without the aids than with them. Dr. Jerger goes on to say, It is not unreasonable to ask, therefore, whether hearing aids are actually a net advantage, especially for the geriatric population. Are we really helping them, or are we just compounding their problems in everyday living?

In 2003, the "American Academy of Audiology Task Force on the Health-Related Quality of Life Benefits of Amplification in Adults" was formed to answer these questions and conduct a meta-analysis of the existing literature on the link between hearing aids and quality of life in adults. Taskforce members include Theresa H. Chisolm, University of South Florida; Carole E. Johnson, Auburn University; Jeffrey L. Danhauer, University of California Santa Barbara; Laural J.P. Portz, University of South Florida; Harvey B. Abrams, Bay Pines VA Healthcare System; Sharon K. Lesner, University of Akron; Patricia A. McCarthy, Rush University Medical Center; and Craig W. Newman, Cleveland Clinic. The committee found, on the basis of their systematic review with meta-analysis, that "hearing aid use improves adults' health-related quality of life by reducing psychological, social, and emotional effects of sensorineural hearing loss, an insidious, potentially devastating chronic health condition if left unchecked."

The American Academy of Audiology is the world's largest professional organization of, by and for audiologists. With an active membership of more than 10,000 audiologists, the Academy promotes quality hearing and balance care by advancing the profession of audiology through leadership, advocacy, education, public awareness and support of research. To learn more about the audiology profession and how audiologists are helping the 31 million Americans who have hearing loss, please visit the Academy's website at www.audiology.org.

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